Shimla: Irrigation and Public Health minister, Vidya Stokes was on Friday non-committal on her plans for the next assembly polls scheduled by the end of 2017.
“I haven’t decided that I will contest or quit. It would depend on the situation and the circumstances then. I can’t say anything today,” Stokes, 87, told media persons in an informal chat at the Shimla Press Club. Stokes, who had himself been a sports lover all through and was Hockey India captain earlier, visited the Press Club to give away prizes to the winners of Badminton and Table Tennis tourney organised by the club for journalists in Shimla last month. Asking the journalists to do development reporting in public and state interest, Stokes expressed her anguish over the previous BJP government’s liberal approach to permit the construction of huge buildings in Shimla, which has a fragile topography.
“I had even pointed it out to the then Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal not to give permissions as it may invite disaster in inclement weather. But he did not listen,” she said. The IPH minister said the water problem in Shimla has existed as Shimla has outgrown its capacity.
“The population of Shimla has increased and everybody wants a water connection. The water sources sometimes run dry for lesser rain, leading to lesser availability of water for supply in Shimla,” she said. She indirectly referred to the crisis in the wake of jaundice outbreak in the city and said it was disgusting that the people are just interested in staying anywhere in Shimla, with no provisions of scientific sewerage connections. “Look what happened in Shimla earlier this year. Majority people in Shimla are living without proper disposal of sewerage and just conveniently open it outside,” she held.
She said the government was trying its best to streamline the system. “It’s getting better now in terms of monitoring,” she said. She said the apple production was very less this year because of dry winter, which reduced the moisture in the soil necessary for apple trees. She said the road in the apple belt, which was under construction, was better this year.
Stokes told the journalists to play a positive role in nation building by highlighting the truth. “I am happy to note that the journalists have been holding matches for different games. The sports will give you lot of positive energy, besides keeping you fit,” Stokes said. She said she had herself been a keen sports lover and besides horse riding, she was a hockey player. Press Club President, Dhanajaya Sharma said the Club had been organising various sports tournaments, including indoor and outdoor in the memory of two journalists, who died young in road accidents-Vikas Panwar and Kapil Sharma.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook